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Come in Spinner

Peter Green | Published on 11/1/2023

Want to ride further, and faster with less effort? Sounds like a scam but I assure you it isn’t. Read on!

It’s all about Cadence which is your pedalling speed measured in RPM. A lower RPM involves more muscular effort (commonly known as ‘Mashing’). A higher RPM takes the weight off your legs and transfers the effort to your Cardio Vascular system so you get out of breath faster.

Sound like six of one and half a dozen of the other?

So it would seem, but here’s the rub. Your muscles use glycogen as fuel and mashing uses up your glycogen stores and when your fuel stores are gone, you are too. Spinning your pedals will get you out of breath faster, granted. But you stop, let your heart rate go down, your breathing becomes easier and you’re ready to go again.

So what is the ideal Cadence? Cycling Australia has determined that 85 – 90 RPM is the benchmark, (coincidently, this is the cadence that the pro cyclists use and we accept that they may know a thing or two!)

How do you measure Cadence? Well, you can purchase a pick-up that attaches to a crank with a read out attached to your handlebars, but don’t get too hung up on this. Just up your pedalling speed until you feel no pressure whatsoever on your legs, then you’re spinning and your legs are just going along for the ride.

A useful tip is to feel your feet are loose in your shoes, this makes it near impossible to press down on your pedals. To start, just concentrate on one foot at a time, feel your foot describing a perfect circle, then swap to the other foot eventually bringing both feet into the act.

Our next article will be all about braking, the do’s and don’ts. Happy Pedalling!

The Bike North Coaching Team

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